Bad Manners (1997) - full transcript

Wes and Nancy are a married academics couple. One day they host Nancy's long-ago lover Matt and his current sexy girlfriend Kim. Matt is a musician and Kim is a computer specialist who helped Matt to make some discovery in his science. Wes suspects Kim of stealing 50 dollars from him and that starts tension, intrigues, mistrust.

♪ music playing

♪ organ music ♪

♪ organ music continues ♪

♪ upbeat rock music ♪

- Okay, so you're in this room, and it's got two doors.

Door A leads to freedom.

Door B to oblivion.

Okay, now in there with you are two computers,

two all-knowing computers.

They know everything there is to know.


- Okay. - Okay.

Now, you can ask one of the computers one question.

No! Okay, wait.

One of the computers always tells the truth,

and the other one always lies.

- Alright, always?

- Always.

- And I know that?

- Yes.

- Do I know which is which?

- No idea.

- Okay, alright.

- Now, you can ask one computer one question,

after which--

- Just one question.

- You have to leave the room through one of the two doors.

- Alright.

- So what do you ask?

- Uhh, okay, I'd ask--no, I can't ask that.


Well, we're assuming I don't want to die, right?

- Doesn't matter, maybe you do.

Do you?

- Wow.

What are you doing?

Jesus Christ!


What the fuck!

Jesus Christ!


Can you sit over there now?

- That's it?

Are you crazy?

That's what you'd ask?

- What are you-- don't--let me steer the--

- Do you trust me?

- Oh, I trust you.

Can you sit over there now?

♪ music returns


- Great, terrific.

♪ rock music

♪ classical music

♪ classical music continues

- It's just shitty timing.

That's all.

- Well, what was I supposed to do?

Tell him to make other plans?

Find a hotel or something?

- Yeah, why not?

- I invited him.

Can't do that.

- It's just I have a very busy week.

Besides classes, I have--

- Besides classes, you want to sit in your study

as usual, drink scotch, and pretend to work

on your book.

- Fuck you.

- Might try that once in a while, too.

- I got passed over for tenure.

- What?

When did you hear?

- Today, two hours ago.

- Ah.

- So, I'm not in the mood to spend four days listening to

your former lover gloat about his little talk

at fucking Hah-vard.

- Wes, I'm sorry.

- Hey, who's that on our porch?

- I don't know.

That couldn't be--oh my God!

I think that's Matt.

- Oh wait a minute.

That is your college Romeo?

- Well, it was a long time ago.

God, he's put on so much weight.

- Who's the girl?

- I don't know.

- Matt?

Is that you?

- It's me.

I gained a little weight.

- Oh no, I didn't notice.

You've been here long?

- Oh, about 10 minutes.

You must be--you're, uh--or, I'm Matt Carroll.

You're Wes.

- Wes, hi.

- Uh, Kim, Nancy, Nancy, Kim.


- Oh yes, we met. - Sorry.

- Can I help you with-- - Yes.


- Which way's the kitchen?

- It's uh straight through, straight through.

- You have a lovely home.

- Thank you.

- May I look around?

- Of course, I'm going to unpack the groceries.

- So how was your trip?

- Oh.

- Did you come straight through?

- No, no, we stopped in Pittsburgh.

I promised Kim a night in a hotel.

- Who is Kim?

- Wha--who?

- No, I know she's the woman in the next room, but who is she?

- She's the woman that I'm into--I told you she was coming,

didn't I?

- Honey, I told you.

He's had a busy week.

- Yeah, I'm just the absent-minded professor

around here.

I always forget this is my own fucking home.

Well, if you excuse me, nature calls.

Honey, where is the bathroom?

- Could you hand me those eggs?

- I don't allow smoking in my home.

And I don't appreciate having an antique incense burner used

as an ashtray.

- Long day?

- No.


I'm sorry.

- Forget it.

- We're going out to eat shortly,

maybe you'd like to freshen up?

- I'm plenty fresh.

- Clean pants?

- We're going out to eat soon, you want to change or clean up,


- I'm fine.

- Okay.

- Oh, you're here to give a lecture at Harvard,

is that right?

- Uh, yeah, tomorrow.

- Kind of a big deal, hm?

- If you're a musicologist.

- Oh, you're not?

- No.

I'm a game theorist, computer scientist.

- What's that got to do with musicology?

- Nothing.

- Well, some of Matt's research is on computer music,

right Matt?

Random numbers used to generate musical scores,

that sort of thing.


- It's got affinities with gambling.

- Hm.

So you--

- It interests me.

♪ classical guitar music

- You do, you do.

You look really terrific.

- Has she told you?

- What?

- Just how close were you two back in grad school?

- I told you, you know.

- Tell me again.

- We were friends, we were good friends.

- Good friends?

You buy that?

- We dated.

- Ha, so very good friends.

You meant to deceive me.

- Not at all, we were good friends who dated.

- Dated?

Which is a euphemism for what?

This can't be easy for you, Wes.

The lies, the inevitable comparisons, the what-ifs.

Now, 20 years later, right in your home,

still youthful and boyish.

Sperms like salmon.

- Kimberly!

- And you, barely out of your teens,

an ornament brought along to make the old flame jealous,

then discarded.

- An ornament?

Could be.

- Uh, beautiful home.

How long have you lived there?

- Bold segue.

- We bought it eight years ago.

- Just after I was tenured.

- You're both tenured?

- Oh yeah, mhm.

- And you're at Harvard too, I assume?

- No, I teach at Chamberlain.

- Chamberlain?

- It's a finishing school for girls.


- No, really.

- No, really.

- Oh--

- Northeastern.

- It's a good school.

And you teach--?

- Religion, yes, comparative malarkey.

- And Nancy says you're writing a book.

- Catholicism: Catechism or Cataclysm.

- What's it about?

- I have no idea.


- How come no kids?

- Careers at first.

And later--

- I wasn't able to get pregnant.

- You see a specialist?

- She didn't find anything.

- Must be shooting blanks, Wes.

- That's a little personal.

- No, that's a fact.

I have--had testicular cancer.

It recurs, but it's in remission.

Nancy's been so good about it, but it's no picnic.

- God.

I'm so sorry, Wes.

- You're full of shit.


- Kim?

- This passes for Wes's humor.

He's a card.

- Wild card.

- Doesn't she?

- How do you mean?

- Young.

- She looks 40.

- Well, she is 40.

That's not what I mean.

- How would I know?

I never met her before.

- Yeah, I know-- I mean in general.

- Yeah, sure.

Are you getting nervous?

- You mean about the lecture?

Yeah, a little bit.

But more excited than nervous.

But they're going to flip when they hear it, right?

- Did you tell Nancy?

- Nope, no one.

- Did you tell her I was coming?

- Yeah, sure, why, did somebody say something?

- Just making sure.

- Yeah, absolutely, they knew.

- She's great, Nancy, isn't she?

- She seems fine.

- Fine?

- Nice.

- Oh, yeah, he seems like an odd duck,


- You think?

- Yeah.

- I kind of liked him.

- That bit at dinner about cancerous balls, I don't know.

- You didn't think it was funny?

- No, I didn't.

And, no, Kim, I wasn't put off by it, it's just that--Kim,

I just think that not having children is a little painful

for Nancy, and I think joking about it is a little insensitive

of him.

- She didn't seem upset, I don't see why you should be.

- I'm not upset.

I just--I--maybe you're right.





- Honey, did you take any money

from my wallet?

- I don't think so.



- Oh, maybe I--no, I used a credit card.


- What, dinner?

- Yeah, that's what I was just--no, I used plastic.

- You have money missing?

- Yesterday, I got $200 from the bank in cash, five 20s, two 50s.

There's a $50 bill missing.

- You didn't spend any of it?

- Well, that's what I've been trying to,

you know--it's only been 18 hours.

You think I'd remember.

- You sure you used a credit card at dinner?

- Yes, I've got a receipt.

- Groceries?

- Ah!

Er, no, you put it on the store's card.

- Have you seen my keys?

Got 'em!

Check your pants pocket?

- It's not there.

- You don't know where it is, you don't know where it isn't.

Check anyway.

- I did.

- I don't know.

I got to go.

Matt's giving his talk.

- Wait.


I think Kim stole my money.

- Stole your money?

- Mhm.

- Why?

- Well, I don't know why.

- Why Kim?

- Well, it wasn't me and it wasn't you and that leaves Matt

and Kim, and it wasn't Matt.

- How do you know?

- Well, you know Matt.

He wouldn't steal from me.

- And Kim would?

- You don't know her.

- So?

- So what?

- So what does knowing her have to do with it?

- What does knowing her have to do with it?

You don't know her, that's what.

- So what difference does that make?

You think someone you don't know is more likely to steal

from you?

- Are you out of your mind?

- I don't think I am.

- It isn't whether or not you know her.

- I thought you just said--

- No, no, not in the sense that--

- Okay, wait.

Matt's my friend, right?

- Right.

- He doesn't know you any more than you know Kim.

- So what?

- So maybe Matt stole your money.

- Wow, you really think so?

- No, of course not.

I don't think Kim did either.

- Will you take this seriously for God's sake?

- You really think she took your money.

- Let's take a look.

- At what?

- Now, while they're away, go in the guest room and see

if she's got $50 stuffed away.

- You're crazy.

Besides she probably has her purse with her.

- Let's just take a look.

We're not cops.

We don't need a search warrant.

See if there's a $50 bill in there.

- No.

I got to go.

- Nancy, stay with me on this.

Now I wouldn't feel right about going through her things.

It'd be like sneaking a look under her skirt.

It's how I feel, and how you'd feel funny going

through Matt's things, wouldn't you?

And finding, you know, rubbers, or--I dunno,

Penthouse or something.

- Damn it!

- You find anything?

- You find anything?

- It was folded up in the bottom of her cosmetics case.

- What?

- Later.

We'll talk about it later.


- Alright, I'm going to begin right here to take

tracks from this piece.

♪ music simplifies

- Right here.


- Now you recognize that, surely?


Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, written as you know

by Martin Luther.

- Are you saying that it just happened--that melody just

appeared in the piece?

That Schumann didn't put it there?

- Not only that he didn't, but that his procedures make

it impossible for him to have done so.

- So how did it get there?

- I don't know.

- Hello!

- Matt.

- How'd your lecture go?

- You should have seen them.

They had no idea what I had.

I didn't even tell Nancy anything.

Nothing's been published, so what a bombshell.

- Really?

I don't think of musicology as a field where bombshells

are hurled or dropped or fired or whatever.

- Well, today it was.

- Hm.

So this little talk of yours was on what--Schubert?


- Sorry, no not Schubert, Schumann.

- Schumann?

- No, not Robert Schumann, the Austrian composer.

My little talk was on Min Schumann, you've heard of him?

Min Schumann?

- Uh, no.

- Oh he's a wonderful young living composer,

mother Vietnamese, and--sorry, father was an American soldier

who raped his mother.

- Sorry to hear that.

- Oh, his beginning in this world!

Anyway, mine is the first monograph on Min's work,

the very first.

It's going to be very important this century and the next.

Min Schumann, very important.

Min Schumann.

- Oh, well what sort of stuff does he--

- What do you mean?

His music?

- Yeah.

- It's not exactly the kind of stuff I can whistle for you.

Didn't Nancy explain--

- Um, no, where is Nancy, by the way?

- Went to run some errands, and then she's going to pick up Kim.

- Really?

- Yeah, I think Kim really likes her.

- Ah, interesting.

Can I get you a drink?

- Uh yeah sure, thanks.

♪ In spite of you, you like yourself. ♪

♪ And that's all right with me.♪

♪ It gets so lonesome feeling space, ♪

♪ and someone must believe. ♪

♪ Erasing golden memories and blowing candles out. ♪

♪ Let's get on off away somewhere ♪

♪ and see what we're about. ♪

♪ Lay down your weary tune to me and rest your-- ♪

- You know what you've got here are great bookstores.

- Well, with all the schools.

- You ever been here before?

- No, no.


- It's like Halloween.

This town is so young.

All these students.

Must be a temptation.

- How do you mean?

- Sexually.

- You mean for Wes?

- Forget Wes.

For you.

- Ha, you're--serious?

♪ folksy harmonica

- Why not?

- Well, for one thing-- - You feel suffocated?

Sorry, but I have to ask.

There's a good chance I'll wind up at a university some day.

I want to, I think, but, well, that's why I've been curious

to meet you.

Wes too.

See what it's like, this sort of life.

- And I seem suffocated?

- You're a really attractive woman.

You're a tenured professor.

You know.

- I guess.

- It's wrong for a woman to deny their sexuality.

It's old.

- Look.

- I'm not saying you should come down here

and fuck all these guys, but you could if you wanted to.

I don't think you realize that.

- Sleeping with boys who can't vote is hardly a regimen

for liberation.

In my opinion.

- But you could.


- What's this guy's name again?

- Min, Min Schumann.


What does this sound like to you?

- It sounds sort of like, uh--shit.

- Well it's not, believe me.

- What's so special about it?

- One, it's beautiful if you let yourself hear it good.

And two, the way he creates it.

- Yeah, and how is that?

- Oh, it's extraordinary really.

He starts with--

he starts with a twelve-tone row of randomly-derived notes.

He uses dice, he uses random book and numbers,

he uses results of the lottery, baseball statistics,

any number of things, the stock market.

- Hasn't this sort of thing been done?

John Cage or somebody?

- I'm not finished.

And then he sets a value to ea--

- Freshen your drink?

- At this stage, the data of the piece is digitized and fed into

a computer, and the computer converts the numerical

relationships into tones, manipulates the tones according

to some set mathematical formula,

some of which are derived by the computer itself and slowly

builds up layers of seconds.

Is this at all interesting to you?

Am I boring you to death?

- Yes, it's--no, sorry, does this piece have a name?

- Yes, Cambodian Requiem.

And it includes as part of the work itself, Wes,

a complete concordance which describes the procedures used

to create the work.

Min, Min gave me a copy of this about a year and a half ago as

well as a copy of this piece, and I had access to the

university's computer center, regular access to Kim,

who handled all the computer analysis.

- So what's the bombshell?

- Oh, well, halfway through Cambodian Requiem,

there--I'd show you except I'd have to remove tracks,

so there's no point.

There appears da-da-da-dadada-dadada-da,

etcetera, two lines of A Mighty Fortress-- - This Is Our God.

- Appears.

- Yeah, I mean, Wes, a perfect quote of a chorale melody

written by Martin Luther in the 15th century?

- Well, that is very interesting.

How did you find it?

You can't just be spending your time looking for things

like this.

- No, no, no, no.

I mean we wouldn't have found it at all if it wasn't

for a computer.

I mean we're working with a mainframe here.

That's what found it.

Kim, Kim ran a program through the piece.

I don't know how these computer people say it,

"against the piece"?

Whatever, no idea.

Anyway, then she compared it to things that are stored

in a database, things like the King

James Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare,

music and hymns of the Protestant and Catholic

liturgies, you know, that's how the computer made the discovery.

- Well, he obviously planted it.

- He pl--who?


- Mhm.

- He couldn't have planted it.

He put his ability to manipulate this procedure

completely out of his own reach.

- Yeah, well but you said he was going to be famous

in the next century.

I mean would that be the case if it weren't

for your intervention?

- I don't know, I mean I think his pieces are brilliant,

they're beautiful.

- Ah, well it's a joke.

- It's not a joke.

I just delivered a lecture on this to a forum of my peers.

- Did they believe it?

- They don't have to believe it.

They can just study this for themselves,

and I can guarantee you that my research is not slipshod.

- Ah, well how do you explain it?

- Ah, that's just the point.

See, what is one to think?

- Yes, hmm.

One might think that it's a highly improbably occurrence

or one might take a leap and say that God--would you say

that God did it.

- Yes, that's what I think.

- Which?

- Both.

- What does she think?

- She who?

♪ f olksy guitar music ♪

- Do you meet with Harper tomorrow?

- No, not tomorrow.

That's Thursday.

Nancy and I tomorrow are going to go out to DC.

- For the seminar.

- For the seminar.

- Who is Harper?

- Ashley Harper.

- She's the editor of the journal--

- That's where my research is submitted.

- You met her at Marian and Phil's.

- You have to tell me.

Who are you talking to, what are they saying?

- Well, they all want copies of the software and the

concordance, and they're trying to be very tight-lipped

and noncommittal, and at the same time of course

no one can stop talking about it.

- This forces their hand.

They can't even think about this thing without their

whole belief system coming out into the light.

- How do you mean that?

- Well, you know, it's one thing if you're a peasant child seeing

the Virgin Mary, but this--this you can't laugh off so easily.

- Well no, of course not.

One doesn't laugh at fraud.

- Wes.

- How--extraordinary choice of words.

- There's no fraud here.

Believe me.

- Believe you.

Oh no, that's the point, isn't it?

No, I have no reason not to believe you,

although I barely know you.

- That's a statement of belief too, right, isn't it?

- What isn't?

- Suspicion of fraud.

- The data can be checked and re-checked a thousand times.

There's always a theoretical possibility of errors,

so you'll still be free to believe it hasn't been

discovered yet.

- What hasn't?

- Oh, we're talking about the Schumann piece.

- What else would I be talking about?

- What else indeed?

So if God appears as a little tune written by some

computer-generated random numbers and it's magic,

then you came all the way to fucking Harvard to say that?


- Well, well, I mean if our research generates

some debate, I don't see what's wrong...

- Debate.

Let's debate this.

I have something in my pocket, or my wallet, let's say...

and I look, and then it's gone.

Is that magic?

- Wes...

- Excuse me?

- What are you talking about?

- Never mind.



- Oh God, what a day.

I wished you were there.

- It was your day.

- No, I missed you.

- I'm sure you did fine.

You can explain the technical stuff as well as I can.

- I don't mean as a colleague, I mean you.

I missed you being there.

- Nancy was there.

- Nancy is a musicologist.

She was invited.

- If I present at a computer science forum,

I won't invite you.


- You really think that I didn't want you there?


- I said I was kidding.

- Kim, you should know.

- Have you been in my things?

- What?

- I have money missing.

- You think I took your money?

- No, I don't, of course, but it's not here.

- You sure?

- Yes.

- How much?

- Fifty dollars.

- Ha.

Fifty dollars.

Kim, are you absolutely certain that you lost some money

because you know, you...

- Yes, Matt.

I'm sure.

- Okay. Okay.

I'm sorry.


let's see...

could you have lost it?

- Not easily.

The money was at the bottom of this case and the case

was zipped shut.

- Well, what then?

You think it was stolen?

- I don't know.

- Who would steal it?

You don't think I stole it.

- No. - Who then?

- No, I don't.

Of course I don't.

- You think that Wes or Nancy did it?

- I don't know.

- That's really crazy. Okay?

'Cause I've known Nancy...

- The money was there and now it's gone.

I mean, I have no reason to suspect them, but who else then?


I didn't steal the money from myself.

♪ music playing

- What was I thinking taking her money?

- My money.

- She's gonna find out. Yeah.

If she hasn't already, the money has been taken.

- That's her problem.

- It could be her money.

Yours is someplace else, lost.

The very least she's gonna ask us if we found anything missing,

had anything stolen.

I'm not prepared to lie.

I took her money.

This is so humiliating.

Yeah, it's gonna ruin my friendship with Matt.

This is awful.

- But what if she did steal it?

Look, if it was her fifty, she'll talk about it.

She'll be concerned that we may have had something stolen too.

But if she did steal, then, and finds it missing,

then she knows that we know she stole it and she'd be too

embarrassed to bring it up.

So if she brings it up it was hers and if she doesn't,

it was ours.

- If it was her fifty, she might not bring it up out

of respect for Matt.

to spare him the embarrassment of accusing his friends.

If she did steal your fifty and she thinks like you,

she may realize that to say nothing looks incriminating

and would bring it up because that's what she would

do if she were innocent.

- You think that's likely?

That a burglar was in here?

That he'd take the time, if he was, to put the cosmetics back?

- I think it's a lot more likely than Wes or Nancy taking it.


- Does something unlikely become less so simply because you can

think of things more unlikely?

- Does something uh, becomes...

Ah, yes, yes.

I think it does, actually.

Isn't that how Poe's man found the orangutan?

- What?

- He eliminated everything that it couldn't have been and

whatever was left, no matter how unlikely, was the truth.

- What are you prattling about?

- Edgar Alan Poe.

"Murders in the Rue Morgue".

The detective deduced that the murder was an ape.

- Never read it.

♪ music playing

- Let's put the money back.

- What?

- We have to hope she hasn't noticed yet.

- Well, what if she has?

- She'll talk about it in the morning, right?

- Hum.

- She doesn't, we play the odds.

We lose fifty dollars, salvage an otherwise humiliating

situation and hereafter make a point of never seeing her again.

- Hum.

- If she has noticed, she knows we know

she's a thief--

- Right.

- And we've been through her things.

Doing it again won't make things all that much worse.

♪ g uitar music ♪

♪ g uitar music continues ♪

- You have your own projects?

Separate from Matt's?

I--I'm sure you must.

- Oh, you don't like me to smoke.

- Oh no, that's--that's all right.

- Matt's stuff takes only part of my time.

Mostly I work with metagames.

- Metagames?

- Self-modifying games.

Games that can play themselves.

- Oh, like, like a computer playing itself at chess?

- Like chess playing itself at chess.

- Hum, that's hard to visualize.

- One way is to make making up the game the game.

- And, what's the game?

- You tell me.

- Could the computer cheat?

- If a computer sees a solution in some context

it already knows, analogous to one in the game,

it could theoretically find a similar solution to win

the game, leapfrogging the rules.

- Really?

A computer could do that?

Assert itself?

- Why not?

- Well, what about doubt?

Can it doubt?

- In what sense?

- Oh, uh...

can it decide the input it is getting is bullshit?

For example, you can be very persuasive when you talk.

But what you're saying may be no more real than, uh,

the blush on your cheeks, which, this close,

I can see to be makeup.

- What are you trying to say exactly?

- What about this Schumann thing, huh?

Matt said there's a point where the computer itself

manipulates the compositions.

- You want to know if I think the computer did it,

stuck in the chorale?

- That claptrap last night.

You don't believe it's God, do you?

I mean, Matt might, but I don't think for a fucking

second that you do.

- Really?

- And I don't think you believe the computer did it either.

- You think Schumann did it?



What do you want me to say?

- Yes.

I want you to say yes.

- To what?

- I think you know damn well to what.

- Yes.

I think I do.

I wonder if you do.

♪ music playing

- This isn't what it looks like.

- What do you suppose it looks like?

- I don't know.

- You like this?

- Yes, I do.

- I'll bet you do.

I have another one just like that.

Wanna see?

- Yes, I would.

- You'll have to take my shirt off.


- Yes.

- But now I feel so overdressed.

You don't want me to feel overdressed, do you?

- No.


Oh, that's Nancy.

- So what?

- She'll find us.

- What if she does?

- People actually come out to hear this guy.

You can see the look on their faces,

and they look like they actually believe him.

- Ta-da!




That's a theory.

- A leap upward of a major sixth.

This is not by definition an incident of pure rapture.

I mean you can't-- you can't just look at the floor

and count the number of emotional high points

on the score just by looking at it.

- What?


He's been working on these for 17 years.

- May I ask you something?

- Sure.

- As a friend? - Yeah.

- It's about Kim.

- What about her?

- Well, I don't know.

I think maybe it's because the difference in our ages,

but I find I'm overly sensitive to her, well, to what--to her.

- What do you mean?

- Just a different set of signals.

I misread them.

I see every gesture as significant.

I analyze everything she says.

I can't be spontaneous with her unless

she's spontaneous with me. I don't know.

I just seem very unsure with her.

- Why is that do you think?

- I'm not sure.

I'm not sure.

Well, maybe I think it's because she's going to take me

the wrong way.

I have no idea where her values lie relative to mine.

- You mean you open a car door for her, and she resents it?

- Yeah, that kind of thing.

Other things too.

Last night...

- What?

- Well, apparently... she's misplaced some money,

or she lost it.

I have no idea.

Anyway, she says that there's money missing.

- And what, you don't believe her?

- Oh, no, no, no.

I believe her.

It's just that her first assumption is that

it was stolen.

I mean that someone came in the room, went through her things,

and took money from her.

- You mean a burglar?

A thief?

- Possibly.

- What else?

She thinks you took it?

- No.

- Who?



- I--I know.

I told her it was crazy.

She just seemed to believe me.

It's just what upsets me.

It's that she's so suspicious of other people right away

and let alone my friends.

- Well, I wouldn't make too much of it.

She doesn't really know us after all.

- I know.

It's crazy, right?

Want to go for a walk?

♪ gentle music playing

- Do you like her?

- Oh, certainly.

- Probably not what you expected.

- I have to say not.

But that doesn't mean anything.

- I think we're so good for each other.

- I'm sure you are.

- You're happy, with Wes?

- Well there...have been compromises, of course.

- Children?

- Yes, that, but, romance.


Sex hasn't been a large part of our lives.

- He doesn't find you attractive?

- I don't know.

I guess not.

- Well, you are.

You are as much as ever.

Is there something bothering Wes?

I mean, does he dislike me in some way?

- No, he doesn't dislike you.

He's going through a hard time.

- With what?

- He was passed over for tenure.

He just learned.

- Didn't he say that he--he had...

- Yes, he did.

He said he was tenured.

- Well, he lied?


- Why do you think?

You are here, my old boyfriend, presenting at Harvard.

What scares me is that it could be final.

I'm a tenured professor and he's not,

and that's not likely to change.

I just don't know if he can deal with that.

- What about you?

- Me either.

- Would you leave him?

- I don't know if I could.

- He doesn't appreciate you, doesn't find you attractive,

he could spend his whole life with you feeling jealous,

making you feel guilty.

- Well, there are other things.

- Yes, there are.

♪ music playing


- I like your shirt.

I swear to God it's a great shirt.

Oh, give me some food.

The food.

- What's the matter?

- Nothing, it just has to do with your sweater.

- Food.


I'm starving to death.

Oh, I love this.

- Help yourself.

- Oh, I love it!

This is great.

Do you want one of these?

- Did I mention there was money missing from my suitcase?

- Oh, how much money?

- Fifty dollars.

- Matt mentioned it.

- Uh, are you sure it's missing?

- Actually, I found it.

- You did?

You didn't tell me.

- You've been gone all day.

I found it at the bottom of my suitcase.

- You see?

And you were so sure.

- I was sure.

There's no way it could have gotten there.

- Obviously that's not true.

- By itself?

- Mhm..

- No, no.

Someone must have put it there.

- Who?

- Whoever took it.

- Oh, so you're not saying you misplaced fifty dollars.

You're saying somebody stole fifty dollars from you

and then they put it back.

- Did you say "they"?

More than one?

- Are you correcting my grammar?

Or are you accusing Wes and me?

- Ahh...

- I wasn't accusing anyone, but if the shoe fits...

- Excuse me?

- I put it there.

- You did?

- I did.

This morning when you were in the shower.

- You had a fifty on you?

- As it happens, I did.

- My fifty?

- Don't be silly.

Not your fif--your fifty is lost or you left it at home.

It's just you were going on and on about it being stolen

that I just-- I had to put your mind at ease.

- By patronizing me?

- Patronizing?

How am I patronizing?

- Treating me like a bird-brained adolescent who

needs her mittens pinned to her.

- Well, if the shoe fits.

- Fuck you!

- I'm not patro-- Could you--could you please

stay out of this, you?

- She accused Wes and me of being thieves in our home.

- I--I know.

I--she--she was wrong.

She was very upset.

- I can speak for myself, Matt.

- Then speak for yourself.


- Don't give me orders.

You're not my father.

- I stole your money.

And I apologize.

I don't know what came over me.

I have some mad felicity, something,

a devil-may-care whimsy.

No, I really don't know.

But, anyway, you have your money back.

Matt here gave you your money back,

and I'm fifty dollars richer.

I'll go buy Nancy some flowers with it.

She'll give them to Matt as a token of friendship,

and Matt might give them to you.

We'll all be happy.

- And keep up the pretense that all is well and everyone's

happy, and, hey, let's have another round of cocktails?

Is it really so important to keep a placid surface

on your lives?

- The only thing disturbing the placid surface of my life

is you.

- Is that so?

Otherwise everything's fine in your waxworks world

of dead composers and aboriginal religions?

Is that why your husband's been coming at me

like a dog smelling estrus?

- Kim, for Christ's sake!

- You know, you may think maintaining good manners

to be only so much hypocrisy, and civility a veneer covering

an unexamined and bankrupt life.

But for the sake of counting yourself among

civilization's discontents, to accuse us of thievery,

to pass comment on the value of our lives together,

and to compare my husband to a rutting hound,

that is indefensible.

It is also gutless, shameless, and contemptible.

- Yeah, well...

what if it's true?

♪ music playing

- If Matt put a fifty in her suitcase and ours

is still there, it's like she's getting interest.

- Shut up, Wes.

- Oh Jesus!

Oh, I--I didn't see you.

Why--why didn't you say anything?

- I wanted to watch.

See if you'd do something peculiar.

- Like what?

- Oh, I don't know.


Suck your teeth.

- Interesting.

- Or throw yourself on this chair and land on me instead.

- You been here long?

When did you come back?

- An hour, I'd guess about an hour.

- Does Matt know you're back.

- I don't know.

If he does, he doesn't want to talk.

Is there anything to drink?

- Well, yes.

- Could you get me something?

Some scotch?

- Quite a show you put on.

- A show?

- I'm not implying that you were insincere of course.

- Of course.

You don't seem too upset.

- You know how it is, heat and rut.

My emotions are skewed.

- Yeah.

Well, I suppose I owe you an apology.

- You guess.

You're not sure?

- I'm not good at it.

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean what I said about you or Nancy.

- You can tell Nancy that.

- That was amazing what she said to me.

- Amazing?

- She hadn't been talking to me, I'd have felt like applauding.

- You do know that I know.

- Know what?

- The fifty dollars.

- Please.

Don't bring that up again.

Tomorrow, if you have to.

- All right.

But you will admit that you do know that I know.

- You're being a bore.

- I am a bore.

I lead a placid life.

- You said you wanted me.

You said you wanted me to say yes to you.

- Yes.

I said, "you do know that I know,

"and I wanted you to say yes.

- I said yes.

Right answer to the wrong question?

What I think is you want to fuck me and now you're here,

and you're too chickenshit to go through with it.

Am I wrong?

- Morning.

- Oh, hi.

You been up long?

- A while.

An hour maybe.

- What time's your meeting?

- Eleven.

Sleep okay?

- Yeah, you?

- No, actually I didn't.

- What's the matter?

You're not feeling well?

- No, I'm not.

I'm--not feeling terribly well at all.

- Is this about Kim?

I heard her, at some point.

- Yeah, well, I'd be surprised if you hadn't.

- Why?

Was she loud?

- Well, she wasn't exactly yelling,

if that's what you mean.

- I don't think I mean anything.

- You don't think you do?

Christ Nancy, can you never say anything without equivocating?

- Now, what's the matter?

Did you have a fight?

- No, look, um, I think the best thing will

be first to get out of here.

We can get a--I can get a hotel.

You really have been more than gracious.

- Matt.

- And I really appreciate it.

It's just I can't stay here any longer.

- Matt, I'm--I'm not asking you to leave.

- Well, maybe you should.

Maybe you should do exactly that.

- I didn't take it personally.

She's young.

She's smart and arrogant and high-strung.

So was I at her age.

So were you.

- Oh, for Christ's sake, will you stop being so fucking noble?

She's a deceitful little slut.

I am humiliated being associated with her,

let alone bringing her into your home.

- Well, if that's the way you feel, I--

- The way I feel?

The way I feel?

You think this is only about me?

- I said I didn't take it personally.

- She fucked your husband.

- What did you say?

- Last night.

In your own living room, all right?

- You saw this?

- I heard them.

- You bastard.

- What?

- You simpering coward.

You're pathetic.

And you use your self-pity the way another man would use drink,

to dredge up the shriveled sack of gall that passes

for you as guts.

- What are you talking about?

- She's too strong for you, and too independent,

and you can't deal with it.

And since you don't have the guts to hurt her,

you try to hurt me and blame it on her.

Shame on you!

- She fucked your husband!

- I won't hear it!

- She fucked your husband!

- Not in my house! Do you hear me?

- Jesus, Nancy!

What's going on?

- Why don't you ask him?

- No!

- Ask me what?

- Nothing.

Nothing at all!

- And you call me gutless?

- It's not true!

- Well, then ask him!

- What is going on?

- Ask him.

- No!

- You want me to ask him?

- According to you, there's nothing to ask.

You know.

You heard.

So, you just tell him.

Just tell him.

- I heard you and Kim last night.

- Yes?


- You were with her?

- Yes, I was.

- What are you saying?

- What do you mean?

- What are you saying?

What were you doing with her?

- Not much.

I came down here to get some juice,

since she was here we talked a little while.

Would someone please tell me what this is all about?

- Well, Matt says that ah, you...

- You're lying.

- I'm lying?

I'm lying?


Do you mind if I get some coffee?

What--what are you saying?

Are you--if you're accusing me of something, just say it.

- I--I'm not...

- Just say it!

You called me a liar you fucking moron!

- I heard you.

I heard you fu--you were having intercourse with Kim last night.

- You heard me.

Heard me?

What did you hear?

My voice?

No, please, tell me.

A gnashing friction, the lubricous,

suctioned pop of the act itself?

- You know damn well.

I heard you, and I heard Kim.

- You don't believe this crap, do you?

- No.

- What? Why?

Why would I make it up for God's sake?

- Oh, yes, that is the question.

- I told you why.

- How can you believe that?

- Believe what?

Good morning.

- Morning.

It seems your boyfriend here heard us screwing

on the living room couch.

- Really?

As if I hadn't done enough already.

- He says he heard you.

He heard your voice.

- Do you believe that?

It's, of course, completely, totally untrue.

- You're denying it, then?

Both of you?

- Nothing took place last night.

- Nothing took place last night.

That's your position, then?

I mean, and your position is what, that I'm lying,

I'm--I was dreaming, I'm delusional?

- I don't know what to think.

- What do you think you heard, Matt?

- I heard you.

- What was I saying?

- You were saying--you were making sounds of passion,

and I heard--I heard you, you were cumming.

- How would you know what I sound like when I cum?

- You are a bitch.

- I'm relieved you don't believe him.

I'd just as soon not admit this, but I'm afraid if I don't,

you may come to wonder about-- I mean he's not delusional,

and he says he heard us, and...I don't quite know how

to say this.

- What?

- I was masturbating.

- Oh Jesus Christ!

- That's what he heard.

- Well, I guess that's a relief.

This was after you went to bed, I assume.

- Uh, yes.

I'm afraid so.

I guess her seeing me in my robe,

she just couldn't restrain herself.

- God, I'm so embarrassed.

- We're all adults here.

We're familiar with the exercise.

I just hope, as your host, that you found everything

you needed in the kitchen.

- So that's what this is, then?

A joke?

Her playing with herself, that's the punch line, I'm the butt?

- Well, you're the one that went off half-cocked,

telling me I cheated on my wife, calling me a liar.

You better me goddamn grateful we're treating this as a joke.

- Yeah.

Well, I've got an appointment.

This isn't over.

I'm not a liar, and I won't be set up as one.


- Dr. Harper?

- Oh, hi Mr. Carroll.

- Yes.

- Do come in.

- Oh, thank you.

Thank you very much.

I'm so happy to meet you finally.

- Oh, thank you.

- I'm such an admirer of the Journal.

- Oh good.

Sit down, please.

- Okay, thank you.

I have--I have my--

- Let me get right to the point.

Oh, can I offer you some tea?

- Uh, no thanks.

- Oh.

I'm having some.

Are--are you sure I can't interest you in some?

- No, I'm fine, thanks.

- It's wild cherry.


I love wild cherry.

Do you like wild cherry?

- I--I don't know.

Uh, chamomile I like sometimes.

- I find that chamomile gives me gastric distress.

Um, I read your article last week,

and I had my colleagues look it over too.

It was ah...very interesting.

- Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

- Mr. Carroll, we are not going to publish the article.

- Because Schumann himself is a fascinating subject to--

What do you mean you're not going to publish?

What do you mean?

- Well, it's the opinion of the editorial board

that we cannot publish an article that maintains,

such as your article maintains, without the risk of,

I--I think it's more certainty than risk,

of making the Journal, and, with it,

the entire discipline of musicology,

an academic laughingstock.

I mean, suppose, uh, we agreed that there's no hoax.

- Right.

- Well, what then?

Computer consciousness?

Luther's spirit alive in the silicon?

We are--we are musicologists, Mr. Carroll, not card readers.

- Well the fact remains, Dr. Harper, the quote is there.

It's there.

- Well, let me ask you this.

It has nothing to do with the--this matter, really,

but it's out of curiosity.

Um, what do you think about this?

- What do you mean?

When I first learned of it?

Well, I don't know.

I--I accepted it.

There it was.

It's not anything to build a church to,

and it's not to be taken as a sign of something,

but it happened.

It happened.

For months afterwards, I kind of walked around

with a big grin on my face.


Do you know what I'm saying?

- That's charming.

Nevertheless, the quote was found by a computer?

- Yes, Kim ran a series of programs through the piece

to try to seek out non-random patterns.

- That's Ms. Matthews?

- Yes.


What about Ms. Matthews?

- Do you know her well?

- It's funny, though, isn't it?

- What's funny?

- You did what I did.

Neither of us believed him.

You chose to disbelieve Matt and to believe Wes and me.

- I don't think I believed or disbelieved.

Your explanation answered Matt's question.

Not to mention a knowledge of my husband that makes

Matt's accusation impossible.

- Belief, not knowledge.

- Fine, belief.

- And this belief keeps you from considering that your

husband could make love to me in your living room

and then join me in lying to cover it up.

- Yes, it does.

- Although, if the first were true,

the second would be more likely too, wouldn't it?

- No, I don't think so.

If I were foolish enough to risk my marriage by having an affair,

I would not aggravate it by lying.

- Really?

Well, in a game most people with one foot in the shit will

go double or nothing.

- Well, as so happens, I do not have one foot in the shit.

And we are not playing a game.

- Really?

- What does she feel about the quote?

Does she believe the computer did it?

- She thinks I think that's possible.

- Oh, she thinks, you think--Really, Mr. Carroll,

well, look, I don't mistrust you,

and I--I'd rather not see your reputation tarnished,

but this is a crock of shit.

- How?

What do you mean?

How do you--?

- I mean somebody has done this.

- It's--it's a hoax, pure and simple.

- It's not possible.

It's just not possible.

We worked on copies only.

We never even touched the original.

What? What?

- Look, I was told at MIT that the checking software

could have been written to alter what it checked.

Even the original could have been changed.

- Are you accusing Ms. Matthews of--Well,

what about Schumann?

I mean, it's possible Schumann, Schumann could have--

he could have been--

- Mr. Carroll, we are not going to publish your

research, and your credibility as a scholar is breached.

Yours and Ms. Matthews.

- Are you saying that's what happened?

- Why don't you ask him?

- Do you think I'm afraid to?

- Nancy.

She's toying with you.

- And what about you, Wes?

- What?

- Don't insult me.

- Oh.

What are you saying?

That you believe him?

That you believe her?


- You tell me it isn't true.


I don't want to hear some confection that you and this

little thief agreed upon.

- Thief?

You're calling me a thief now?

- Actually, I'm quoting.

Wes thinks you stole fifty dollars from his wallet.

- Nancy!

- He's been quite obsessed with it.

- Really?

- And with you too, apparently.

- Don't do this.

- Why not?

We're all getting things off our chests.

Go ahead.

Come clean.

- Go ahead, Wes.

- All right, you both want this?

- Last night I came in here.

I--I was awake.

I was going to make a drink or something, and she was here,

sitting in the dark.

I didn't know it.

She didn't say anything at first.

She started talking about what happened earlier.


I could smell that she'd been drinking.

She was physically loose, presumptuous, and crude,

so she came on to me.

I have no reason to deny it.

She even kissed me, but I felt no attraction

for her so I went back to bed as quickly as possible.

So much for my obsession.

As for the other thing, yes, I do think you stole

fifty dollars from me and that you are a damn thief.

- You've gone a little far, haven't you?

- That from you?

- Talk about protesting too much.

- I'm sick of your damn voice.

- For the record, he did make love to me last night.

- I did not.

- Uh, Doctor--hi guys.

- Dr. Harper has been looking at our research at Harvard

and at the electronic music lab at MIT,

and the Luther quote, ha!

It's a hoax.

A pure and simple hoax.

- What?

- What?

You sound a little surprised.

- What's that supposed to mean?

Of course I'm surprised.

- The piece was altered by a subprogram

in your software.

That is to say that you deliberately tampered

with Schumann's work.

- That's not true.

- So this little prank, I don't know, whatever it was,

that cost us about a year or maybe a year and a half of very

hard work, it's all garbage now.

And also means that your career is finished

and maybe you're facing civil, maybe criminal charges.

I sure hope it was worth it.

- I didn't tamper with Schumann's work.

- Oh, you didn't?

Oh, well well, the thing is that it's not really

my affair anymore.

But the truth is that they say they can prove it,

and I have no reason to doubt it.

- Me? Me?

I'm your reason.

I'm saying it isn't true.

- Yeah.

If I were you, I'd--my advice to you would be to confess,

and then I would get medical attention.

- Your advice?

- Mhm.

- You think I'm crazy?

- No, I think that someone whose career is in jeopardy

as the result of a willful and self-destructive act would

not hurt her situation any by admitting it straight

away and seeking treatment.

And I can tell you that I think Dr. Harper feels almost

exactly the same way.

- Fuck you and fuck that.

This is bullshit.

There is no proof.

There can't be.

I didn't do it.

- I can't say that I expected you really to behave reasonably

about this.

- And you, Matt?

You believed her?

- Well, why shouldn't I?

I'm no computer expert, really.

- Because you believed me, that's why.

Because you know I wouldn't do that.

The quote was there.

- Yeah, just like your fifty bucks.

- You bastard.

You weak fucking bastard.

You see what you've done?

- What we've done?

- You caused this.

- I?

- You had the vulgar audacity to suspect me of stealing money

from you.

How dare you?

- You invite those suspicions.

You court them with your incessant game-playing.

As you like it.

So don't throw it at us.

- Oh?

Well, forget suspicions.

Try facts.

He did fuck me last night.

- Well, that's enough!

- And he wasn't playing games!

- Stop!

- What went on in that meeting?

It's a set-up isn't it?

Harper wouldn't publish the article,

and she designated me as the reason, and you agreed.

Isn't it?

- No.

- A fucking set-up!

- No, it isn't.

- You sold me out, and you don't even have the guts to admit it.


- Bye bye.

- Hi.

- Hi, honey.

- You okay?

- Yeah.

- You can be reconsidered you know?

For tenure?

And we're fine.


- Yeah, I was thinking, this spring I might do something

back here.

- Sure.

- Build something, maybe.

From wood.

- That sounds manly.

Build something from wood.

With tools.

From your shop.

Like what?

Like a fence?

- Hm.

A fe--yeah, a fence.

Just run a fence right across the lawn.

- Well, like what?

An arbor maybe?

- No, I was thinking of an outhouse.

Or maybe a bomb shelter.

- Bomb shelter's good.

Or a 7-11?

Make some money while you're at it.

- Mhm.

- Or a Cineplex, better yet.


No, he's out back, building a Cineplex from wood.

With tools."

Do you have any tools?


- Yes, I have tools.

- Now, what do you--what?

- I have--

- Yeah?

- A snow shovel, and I have a stapler.

- A snow shovel and a stapler.

Well, you could bury the stapler under the piles of paper on your

desk, and then come spring, you can dig it out.


♪ Min Schumann music playing

♪ Glue stuck to my shoes.

♪ Does anyone know why you play with an orange rind? ♪

♪ You say you packed my things, and divided what was mine. ♪

♪ You're off to the mountain top. ♪

♪ I say her skinny legs could use the sun. ♪

♪ But now I'm wishing for my best impression ♪

♪ of my best Angie Dickinson. ♪

♪ But now I've got to worry, 'cause boy you still look ♪

♪ pretty when you're putting the damage on. ♪

♪ Yes, when you're putting the damage on. ♪

♪ Take it higher. ♪

♪ Don't make me scratch on your door. ♪

♪ I never left you for a banjo. ♪

♪ I only just turned around for a poodle and a corvette ♪

♪ and my impression of my best Angie Dickinson. ♪

♪ But now I've got to worry 'cause boy you still ♪

♪ look pretty when you're putting the damage on. ♪

♪ Putting--when you're putting the damage on. ♪

♪ Take it higher. ♪

♪ Higher. ♪

♪ Higher. ♪

♪ There's a light in your platoon. ♪

♪ I never seen a light move. ♪

♪ Like yours can do to me. ♪

♪ So now I'm wishing for my best impression ♪

♪ of my best Angie Dickinson. ♪

♪ But now I've got to worry 'cause boy you ♪

♪ still look pretty to me. ♪

♪ But I've got a place to go. ♪

♪ I've got a ticket to your late show . ♪